Losing a loved one and going through their service at a funeral home in Shelby, NC is one of the hardest parts of life. But what happens if you can’t grieve the loss of a loved one? What do you do if you feel like your emotions are frozen in place?
This is a common experience called absent grief. Absent grief is when someone shows no signs of normal grief, such as crying, lethargy, missing the deceased, or anger. Many doctors believe that this kind of grief comes from an underlying avoidance or denial of the loss. Though absent grief is very common, many people don’t know much about it.
Here are some fast facts about absent grief to provide guidance and context:
- It’s OK if you weren’t close to the deceased – Some might feel like they have absent grief if they aren’t grieving, but it might simply be that they just weren’t that close to the deceased. If that’s the case, it’s OK. You don’t have to demonstrate deep grief over someone you weren’t close to.
- The symptoms of absent grief are varied – Symptoms of absent grief include no signs or symptoms of grieving whatsoever, irritability, forgetting about the loss, not feeling connected to the loss, and denial.
- Absent grief can have physical symptoms – Holding in your feelings of loss can take a toll on the body, leading to heart palpitations, insomnia, fatigue, or eating disorders.
- Death isn’t the only event that can cause absent grief – Other life events besides death can cause absent grief, including divorce, job loss, regret, or loss of a romantic relationship or friendship.
- Grief is often unexpected – Grief looks and feels different for everyone, so it’s often tough to pinpoint when someone is experiencing absent grief. Check-in with yourself or the grieving person to see how you or they are feeling.
- Avoiding grief isn’t obvious – There are many ways people that experience absent grief try to avoid grieving. For example, they can focus on taking care of others, lose themselves to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, or dive into work in order to distract themselves.
- Anticipatory grief can lead to absent grief – Anticipatory grief is when someone grieves a loss before it actually happened. Frequently, if you grieve before death, you won’t feel as much pain after death.
- You can move on – You can move on from absent grief. Once you accept the loss you can work through your pain and grief to move forward with your life. If you need help doing so, don’t be ashamed. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
- Absent grief isn’t just denial – The “denial” stage of grief is when you try and deny the death happened. Most people face denial in the first few hours or days after a loss. But denial becomes absent grief when the denial continues for much longer.
We are here to help if you have more questions on absent grief, dealing with a loss, or Shelby, NC funeral homes. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do to help in your time of loss.